Next week will see the Commercial Vehicle Show – the largest and most comprehensive road freight transport, distribution and logistics event in Britain – return to the NEC Birmingham from Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 May, and I hope to see many of you there.
As we move towards 2035 and the government’s proposed end of sale date for fossil-fuelled light commercial vehicles, the focus will be on decarbonising CVs, and the latest vehicles, trailers, equipment and other technologies will be on display.
Businesses have, however, justifiable concerns over the costs, timing and staff training needs for making the switch to electric. From hardware issues, including the potential cost of vehicles and the paucity of dedicated charging infrastructure, to the operational needs, including driver education, efficient route management and battery charging, there is a lot to consider.
To support businesses managing the transition of their fleets, exhibitors are bringing a raft of solutions and products, with a number of zero-emission LCVs and a 16-tonne cold chain truck on display at the show. There is also a comprehensive range of sessions in the Live Theatre covering all the big issues. To sign up for a free ticket please visit www.cvshow.com.
The importance of renewing our commercial fleet was brought into sharp focus this week, with the latest figures showing how the market for new heavy goods vehicles (HGV) declined by -2.3% in Q1 2022, down on what was a volatile first quarter in 2021.
Manufacturers have remained resilient, striving to fulfil order books as quickly as possible, but supply chain shortages and disruptions are a major headache and are delaying our ability to get more of the latest, cleanest vehicles onto our roads. Once these problems ease, however, the government’s newly announced zero emission HGV demonstrator programme will provide useful guidance to help operators plan their longer term fleet strategy.
There was better news this week as the bus and coach sector saw registrations increasing by 45.2% over the first quarter – though this is still some way short of a recovery. As reduced passenger numbers continue to hamper the confidence of operators to renew their fleets, incentives are essential to return the sector to its pre-pandemic levels.
Funding has slowly started to be released but we most move quickly, and government can help be ensuring cash from the Bus Back Better Fund is released faster to support investment in vehicles and using its other funding streams to encourage infrastructural expansion, both of which are essential to the delivery of the net zero road transport everyone demands.